1899 upward swing starts against St. Pauli

With their fans behind them 1899 Hoffenheim want to claim their first points in the second half of the season. After a bit of misfortune against Werder Bremen, the Kraichgau outfit are looking to right the wrongs of last weekends performance when they take to the field in front of home support against St. Pauli. However, despite the suffering caused by the last gasp Torsten Frings winner, Marco Pezzaiuoli is confident that “at some point luck has to be on our side.”

For Pezzaiuoli, the match against St. Pauli will be his first inside the Rhein-Neckar Arena since he took over from Ralf Rangnick. "I'm excited about my first match in front of the Hoffenheim fans, but at the end of the day it's nothing too special, just another match." On Matchday 19, 1899 Hoffenheim welcome St. Pauli to Kraichgau looking to get back to winning ways. Pezzaiuoli is expecting it to be a close fought match that is likely to require a lot of patience. In the pre-match press conference the new manager and start striker Vedad Ibisevic agreed that: "Pauli are a robust team who work themselves into the game by putting in a fighting performance. They're compact, incredibly disciplined and will be very dangerous on the counter attack."

Squad nears completion

Controlling St. Pauli on the counter attack is the task facing Pezzaiuoli's men, but he's confident his team will be able to do just that with "a compact and controlling back line." However, the main focus for the Kraichgau outfit will be on their attacking play. "We need to build pressure starting with the frontline against St. Pauli to force them into mistakes", stated the 42-year old. It starts with Ibisevic up front who, like the rest of his teammates, is "raring to go for the first home match in the second half of the season", according to Pezzaiuoli. "It's going to be a difficult game, but one that we're going to win in the end."

St. Pauli are currently struggling down the bottom end of the table and will be doing all they can to pick up a surprise point or two in Kraichgau to distance themselves from the relegation battle. "We can't wait for things to happen, we have to make them happen ourselves. We've got to throw ourselves in 120% otherwise we face playing in the 2. Bundesliga next season", explained Pauli's midfield maestro Matthias Lehmann. Manager Holger Stanislawski will have to figure out how to deal without certain players who are out with injury including Marius Ebbers, who up until now has not missed a game all season. On the other hand the Hoffenheim medical team have again shown their quality in getting players back to fitness with Gylfi Sigurdsson recovering in time to take part on Sunday. 1899 also welcome back Sejad Salihovic, after he missed out against Bremen through suspension. Elsewhere new-signing Roberto Firmino has received the clearance necessary for him to be in the squad, but will miss out due to illness. The only players missing are the long-term absentees Chinedu Obasi, Manuel Gulde and Jens Grahl.

Stats and Facts

These two teams have only met once so far in the Bundesliga, during the first half of this season, when Hoffenheim emerged victorious thanks to a late Isaac Vorsah goal that gave them the 0-1 win. Away from home St. Pauli have been anything but threatening in front of goal. Their last goal in an opponent's stadium came during Matchday 7. If 1899 get the first goal you would imagine they would press home their advantage against the struggling St. Pauli to do the double over the newly promoted side. On top of that the Kraichgau outfit have won 16 points when they have scored the first goal.


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